Young Kenyans are increasingly becoming creative in coming up with solutions to underlying problems of the society and in the process creating a source of livelihood for themselves. Cosmas Ochieng is one such individual who is in the business of creating eco-friendly green fuels and fertilizers from croton nuts through his company EcoFix Kenya.
Here is the story of EcoFix Kenya CEO as told by WoK.
Cosmas Ochieng Background
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Cosmas Ochieng was born and raised in Nyanza. After completing his secondary education, he moved to Nairobi for his tertiary education. He joined the Technical University of Kenya (TUK) in 2005 where he graduated with a Diploma in Applied Food Science and Technology. He went on to join Strathmore University where he was awarded a Certificate in Impact Business. Cosmas proceeded to Mount Kenya University (MKU) where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management, Entrepreneurship/Entrepreneurial Studies in 2021. He has also attended different trainings and fellowships such as the East African Acumen Fellowship in 2017 and the Strathmore Social Enterprise and Impact Investing Careers Program.
He started off his career at Kenya Works as a volunteer supervising the implementation of Kenya Works Projects. He got a promotion in the company in June 2010 to become the Program Coordinator, a position he held for 7 years. He then joined Gospel Outreach Church as a Church administrator and later founded Moriah Resource Centre – a Community Based Organization (CBO) that aims at implementing development projects on career development, food security and entrepreneurship. He later on quit to start EFK Group famously known as Eco Fuels in January 2012.
Establishing Eco Fuels and the Croton plant
Croton megalocarpus is an indigenous tree species that is under the family of Euphorbiaceous. The tree is only found in ten countries situated in Sub-Saharan Africa-that is Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Somalia, Burundi, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The tree produces the croton oil which is used to make Biofuel, animal feeds and fertilizers. Cosmas and friend Paul Alan decided to establish Eco Fuels in 2012 with the aim of using the nuts to create biofuel. The company which has its factory based in Nanyuki, Laikipia County sources the croton nuts from 6,000 local farmers across the country. At the factory, the seeds are graded, then processed to produce the different types of fertilizers, oil, animal feeds and vinegar.
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Currently, the company processes over 3,000 tons of croton nuts a year and has created job opportunities for over 6,000 individuals across the country. It has been able to build loyal clients mainly from multinational corporate companies such as Del Monte which uses the biofuel for its diesel generators. The croton oil can also power water pumps and tractor engines. Compared to other fuels such as diesel, croton is cheaper and generates far less carbon dioxide emissions. One liter of the fuel goes for Ksh 70 which is comparatively lower than the price of diesel. His clients mainly include schools, hospitals, hotels and ranches which have contacted the company to supply the fuel. The company has also diversified to selling the by-products of the nuts, including seed cake from the pressed nut as poultry feed and fertilizers from the shells. The company plans to create five more factories in Kenya and enter into the Tanzanian market in the coming years.
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